Separatists hold key to Kash­mir peace mis­sion After Ajit Pawar, Su­nil Tatkare faces the heat

VAL­LEY IN TUR­MOIL No clar­ity yet on Hur­riyat par­tic­i­pa­tion as Oppn reaches out

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Jammu & Kash­mir chief min­is­ter Mehbooba Mufti in­vited Hur­riyat lead­ers on Satur­day for talks with an all-party del­e­ga­tion headed to the Val­ley, ask­ing sep­a­ratist lead­ers to lend “cre­dence and cred­i­bil­ity” to the out­reach by In­dia’s po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship.

Ahead of the visit on Sun­day, the Cen­tre ap­proved a chilli-based shell as an al­ter­na­tive to the con­tro­ver­sial pel­let guns, blamed for caus­ing eye in­juries to civil­ians.

Mufti’s let­ter to separatists came in the back­drop of hard­line leader Syed Ali Shah Gee­lani, chair­man of the Hur­riyat Con­fer­ence, re­fus­ing to meet the del­e­ga­tion if New Delhi doesn’t ac­cept the po­lit­i­cal na­ture of the Kash­mir dis­pute.

Mufti sent the in­vi­ta­tion “in her ca­pac­ity as the PDP chief ”, in­di­cat­ing that its coali­tion part­ner BJP is out of the process to in­volve separatists for a di­a­logue to defuse the most volatile phase in the Val­ley since 2010.

Seventy three peo­ple, most of them civil­ians, have been killed in street vi­o­lence sparked by the gun­ning down of a mil­i­tant leader by se­cu­rity forces on July 8. “This Cur­few has been im­posed in some parts of Sri­na­gar again.

will be the start of a cred­i­ble and mean­ing­ful di­a­logue and res­o­lu­tion process to end the stale­mate,” Mufti said in her let­ter.

Sources said back-chan­nel talks led by CPI (M) leg­is­la­tor MY Tarigami are also on to con­vince Gee­lani to meet the team if they come to his house—as it hap­pened

in 2010. “If they agree, we are ready to meet them at their res­i­dences (in Sri­na­gar),” CPI (M) leader Si­taram Yechury said.

In Delhi, dur­ing a briefing for the del­e­ga­tion mem­bers, home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh was, how­ever, non-com­mit­tal when many lead­ers de­manded that the Cen­tre in­vite the Hur­riyat for talks dur­ing the two-day visit. A source quoted Singh as say­ing dur­ing the meet­ing that the main chal­lenge be­fore the gov­ern­ment dur­ing the cri­sis was the “use of the so­cial media and mil­i­tants hid­ing with civil­ian mobs to at­tack se­cu­rity forces.”

The probe into the multi-crore ir­ri­ga­tion scam picked up pace on Satur­day, when the Anti Cor­rup­tion Bureau (ACB) filed its third First In­for­ma­tion Re­port (FIR) on the Konkan projects — this one on the Kond­hane dam. It also filed a first charge sheet in a Vi­darbha project - the Ghodzari canal ten­der of the Gosikhurd dam.

In the com­plaint re­gard­ing the Kond­hane dam in Raigad, the role of former water re­sources min­is­ter Su­nil Tatkare is now un­der the di­rect am­bit of in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Tatkare was the min­is­ter when the project was cleared in 2011. This dam saw a mas­sive cost es­ca­la­tion — from Rs56 crore to Rs328 crore — after its height was in­creased by 32 me­ters. This was within one month of the ten­der be­ing given to FA En­ter­prises. While the FIR does not name Tatkare, a se­nior home depart­ment of­fi­cial told HT the min­is­ter’s role in grant­ing ap­proval and the cost hike of the project will be in­ves­ti­gated.

In­dia’s fi­nan­cial crime in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency on Satur­day took pos­ses­sion of as­sets worth more than Rs6,500 crore of liquor baron Vi­jay Mallya, the sec­ond such ac­tion against the busi­ness­man once known as a “king of good times”.

The as­sets at­tached by the En­force­ment Di­rec­torate (ED) in­clude a farm­house near Mumbai, res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties in Ban­ga­lore, shares and fixed de­posits, an ED of­fi­cial said.

HT

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